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Alliant 2400 and Blue dot and forcing cone erosion?

This is a discussion on Alliant 2400 and Blue dot and forcing cone erosion? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Hi Guys, I have recently been reading about certain powders causing forcing cone erosion and accelerated top strap gas cutting. Can Blue Dot cause this? ...


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Old December 11th, 2012, 01:53 PM   #1
 
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Alliant 2400 and Blue dot and forcing cone erosion?

Hi Guys,
I have recently been reading about certain powders causing forcing cone erosion and accelerated top strap gas cutting.

Can Blue Dot cause this? I like shooting 125 gr jacketed soft points in my GP-100 & sts Blackhawk (with a firm crimp), loading these using the lower end of published rates in my Speer manual.

Recently, I've been considering using 2400 again (really like the massive boom), but wondering if this powder has been known to cause those erosion problems as well.

Thanks in advance!



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Old December 11th, 2012, 04:26 PM   #2
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G. Freeman, All powders will cause flame cutting ... some are much worse than others and much depends on bullet weight. The effects of flame cutting are a powder burn timing issue where pressure peaks just as the base of the bullet passes the B/C gap. Because lighter bullets accelerate faster from the case, they cause the worst damage, 110 gr bullets being the absolute worst. 158 gr (or heavier) cause the least damage. 125 gr bullets being about in the middle will cause notable damage but nothing extreme unless you load pretty hot. As for powders, slow burning magnum powders are the worst and yes, this includes 2400 and Blue Dot but H-110, W-296, and Lil'Gun are even worse. The slower the powder burns and the lighter the bullet, the combined effect will place the base of the bullet in the worst position possible for flame cutting.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 04:57 PM   #3
 
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Thanks for the words of wisdon Iowegan. I have almost finished a 4# can of Blue dot, loading my 125 gr JSP's 11.5-12.0 gr and so far so good (on my GP & Blackhawk). However, I used to use 2400 with 110 gr JHP's in my S&W 586 years ago. It caused some flame cutting but I don't remember if any forcing cone erosion occurred after ~500 rounds.

Certainly, nothing like some pics I saw in this forum with the Lil Gun powder--those were just real nasty and demoralizing considering the cost of a gun nowadays.

I may need to buy 158 gr JSP's next time when I finish my current supply of bullets.

BTW, I have no problems with flame cutting, but is forcing cone erosion just something that will eventually happen as long as you shoot magnum loads, or is this avoidable (by avoiding those powders you mentioned and lighter-wt bullets)?

Best regards...

Last edited by G. Freeman; December 11th, 2012 at 05:10 PM.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 05:11 PM   #4
 
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Be judicious!

The super hot, pressurized gasses emitting from between the forcing cone and cylinder of any revolver is, in effect, a gas cutting torch. Forcing cone erosion, caused by gasses escaping from between the base of the bullet before it seals the bore is less significant in my view, although it does occur over time, and both are destructive.

The reason behind this activity is not peculiar to one powder over another, per-se. All smokeless powders contain the same potential energy, with none being greater than the other. They do differ simply in quickness, the duration of burn, and with regard to chemical and solid additives, and even shape, which can be significant. The longer a flame plays on a surface of steel, the hotter it becomes, whether as the result of longer burning high capacity cases, or rapid, unrelenting fire. This can be a significant issue, even with light loads, over time, as I have in fact seen with light loads of 2.7 grains of Bullseye under wadcutters in .38 Specials in extended rapid fire events. While not extensive, gas cutting was occurring. When we went to full power factory service loads for training, gas cutting became a serious consideration until we adopted autos.

Powder also contains particulate solids that erode a top-strap to a degree over time, even with relatively light target loads, just as if it were being bead blasted. Spherical, ball propellants are notable in this regard, but are not significantly notorious than other powders in practical terms insofar as the pressures of a revolver are concerned. Always, the judicious use of high end loads will greatly extend the service life of parts subject to erosion and gas cutting, so-called.

Modern revolvers will withstand a significant amount of firing before significant gas cutting is apparent. In my experience, it is usually a cosmetic issue, much more than it is a destructive one. Having said that, we are now in a new era of high capacity home ammo production unlike any time before. No longer is it only the sponsored competition shooter that can fire off hundreds of rounds a week. With this advance in home reloading, it is certain that a weekend recreational shooter will see potentially damaging erosion and gas cutting in a revolver in a relatively short interval. In that the top strap is a component that keeps the gun from parting, it behooves one to keep an eye on any activity that is cutting a line in it.

Gas cutting is very easily observed, and its cause is hot gasses from burning powder. Reduce the amount of powder and the burn time, and you'll have a longer lasting gun. Full charges of big boom powders are not conducive to long lasting guns over the long run, for that and for countless other reasons. Little amounts of fast burning powder are better than large amounts of slow burning powder.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:32 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Freeman View Post
Recently, I've been considering using 2400 again (really like the massive boom), but wondering if this powder has been known to cause those erosion problems as well.
Not sure massive boom is good for much

Every once in a while I read a flame cutting thread, and go check my BH for the heck of it.

I don't have much use for the lighter bullets, as I use the BH for a trail gun in woodsy places, and the lighter bullets are at the their best as a self defense thing. I also load about a grain off max with BD, so the loads aren't real ferocious. I shoot mostly cast stuff 160-180gr. At this point, I'm pretty sure it's gobbled up at least 4lbs of Blue Dot, at least that much 2400 and Unique, and a couple lbs of this and that.

I don't see any evidence of flame cutting or throat erosion. How many rounds does it actually take?
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Old December 12th, 2012, 09:59 AM   #6
 
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Thank you for the input guys. Been researching about this topic more.

Went home last night & looked at my BH and 2 GP's. Although there is no top-strap erosion, there was evidence of mild forcing cone erosion. Never occurred to me to even look. And in trying to recall, yes, my S&W 586 (sold years ago) did show more forcing cone erosion, but @ that time, I attributed this to "normal" wear, not knowing any better.

Looked at my reloading cabinet and noticed to my dismay that I still have ~2500 125 gr JSP bullets! Oh well. Also still have another 5# can of Blue Dot.

When I bought 6" GP and 6.5" BH, their sole purpose were to shoot magnum loads and that's the only reason they exist in my collection (I have several autos that I shoot lighter loads through).

Will have to make adjustments to my loads. I know Ruger can always reinstall a new barrel when the erosion reaches the point to make the gun is unsafe to shoot.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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TMan51,
Quote:
I don't see any evidence of flame cutting or throat erosion. How many rounds does it actually take?
Flame cutting on the top strap can start showing up with just a cylinder full of magnum loads. As GunBlue said, this is mostly a cosmetic issue and has very little to do with reducing the strength of the gun. There are exceptions ... ie a 357 Maximum where I have seen top strap flame cutting so bad that it rendered the gun unsafe.

Forcing cone flame cutting shares the same properties with top strap flame cutting ... lighter bullets and slow burning powders cause the most damage. Forcing cones also suffer from repeated bullet strikes where the smoothness of the forcing cone cut can make a huge difference in longevity. If a revolver leaves the factory with a nice smooth forcing cone, it will last much longer than one with machine marks ... which are very typical in all Ruger revolvers. Seems when a bullet strikes the forcing cone, any irregularity will start causing wear from friction (not flame cutting). Of course jacketed bullets are much harder than lead bullets so they will cause more damage. Because lighter bullets develop higher velocity in that short inch or less of bullet travel, they strike the forcing cone with much more intensity, which in turn causes more damage. To answer your question ... both flame cutting and bullet strikes will determine the longevity of a forcing cone and is compounded by the factory condition of the forcing cone, type and weight of the bullets, and of course the "boom factor", meaning hotter loads will cause more damage.

It's best to inspect your forcing cone each time you clean your revolver. Once damage starts showing up (anything but a smooth transition from the rear barrel face to the lands) you should chamfer the cone. This will extend the forcing cone's longevity tremendously.

Fortunately, it's very easy to repair forcing cone damage. All it takes is a few twists of a forcing cone reamer (called a forcing cone chamfer tool) to restore the cone. Of course this makes the cone a few thousandths deeper but that doesn't bother accuracy at all, however it may reduce muzzle velocity by a few fps. The tool used to chamfer a forcing cone is a rod that goes through the bore then screws into a cutter. This procedure can easily be done without removing the barrel from the frame and only takes a few minutes from start to finish. All Ruger revolvers are shipped with a 5 degree forcing cone, which seems to work well for jacketed bullets but not so good with lead bullets. When I chamfer a Ruger forcing cone for a customer that shoots lead bullets, I use an 11 degree reamer, which reduces lead fouling and improves accuracy. If the customer shoots exclusively jacketed bullets, I use a 5 degree reamer and follow up with a 5 deg brass lap to eliminate any machine marks. Click on this link for instructions on chamfering a forcing cone along with chamfering cylinder throats: http://rugerforum.net/library/18570-...hamfering.html
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Old December 13th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
Click on this link for instructions on chamfering a forcing cone along with chamfering cylinder throats: http://rugerforum.net/library/18570-...hamfering.html
Thanks (again). As noted, the vast majority of the handgun ammo I've used is with cast. Maybe it will never happen?
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Old December 14th, 2012, 11:11 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMan51 View Post
Thanks (again). As noted, the vast majority of the handgun ammo I've used is with cast. Maybe it will never happen?
Yes, it happens with cast bullets too.

All my magnum revolvers show this erosion to some extent. I figure it's like owning a high powered car, if you drive it to it's capabilities, it's going to wear out faster than it would if you drove like a little old lady.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 04:25 AM   #10
 
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I figure it's like owning a high powered car, if you drive it to it's capabilities, it's going to wear out faster than it would if you drove like a little old lady.
I subscribe heavily to that theory, especially with handguns.

I've shot a couple loose in the past, when having the hottest loads was a status symbol. (About 3-4 decades ago). Now I think of passing my stuff to my daughters and a couple younger cousins. Can't do that with a continuous diet of red lined loads. And guns are not cheap these days.
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